Hawaiian leaders denounce violence after group stormed OHA offices
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A group of Native Hawaiians gathered outside OHA’s offices Thursday to denounce acts of violence after a self-described sovereignty group stormed the agency last week.
Five members of the Kingdom of Atooi were arrested following the Jan. 17 incident, and two Office of Hawaiian Affairs employees said they were assaulted. One suffered two broken ribs.
The incident also prompted an hours-long lockdown of OHA’s Nimitz Highway offices.
“We must all agree there is no place for violence in our community. Any use of violence regardless for what cause must be condemned,” said Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, OHA’s CEO, at Thursday’s gathering.
On Thursday, Atooi’s self-proclaimed king, Alii Nui Aleka Aipoalani, who wasn’t at OHA during the incident, apologized for his officers actions, but claimed they were acting in self-defense.
"I would like to apologize for their actions and if we offended our Kanaka Maoli/Hawaiian people. We are truly sorry," he said in a statement.
Later, with high profile attorney, Michael Green, by their side, two of the men who were arrested and others from the group did not admit to wrongdoing and refused to apologize.
"That's his apology. The alii nui is separate from the government. He's the leader. He's got the right to run government," said Ene Faletogo who was arrested at OHA and is part of the Atooi's self-proclaimed government.
When asked if they assaulted the two OHA employees, Faletogo said “Like I said we ain’t got no comment for that.”
The group’s members say they wanted to take over OHA because of trustee corruption.
On Wednesday, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said the attorney general is investigating the incident at OHA and looking at more serious charges.
“Impersonating federal officers needs to be looked at,” said nonprofit leader Trisha Kehaulani Watson. “They came in claiming to be federal marshals. I think possibly kidnapping. They held them against their will.”
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